Q: “Somer, I heard about a role through someone in my network who shared a JD, and this is a position a search firm is working on. I think they shared my name with the search firm, but I haven’t heard anything from the team. I run in the same circles as the hiring manager. Do you recommend I reach out to them directly or will that put me sideways with the search partner? I’m really interested in this and feel I’m uniquely qualified.”
A: This is such a good question. Since there's a search firm working on it, and you learned about the role through a search firm's job description, I'd contact the search firm directly or ask your friend to cc you on an email introduction to the search firm if you know them well.
If you go to the hiring manager directly, he/she will likely route you right to the search firm, and then that conversation would start out awkwardly since you heard about the role through their JD.
The only time I'd recommend reaching out to the company directly is if you had a very close relationship with the hiring manager, and in that case you could approach it by giving the search firm the benefit of the doubt and keeping them in control of the process, letting the hiring manager know that you're reaching out to the search firm and hope you get to chat about the position if they're still considering more candidates, something along those lines.
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